Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 3/31/12

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 15: Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals warms up before the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Verizon Center on January 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Alexander Semin scored in the third round of the shootout as host Washington took sole possession of the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

With the victory, Washington pulled within two points of first-place Florida in the Southeast Division.

Semin, who also had an assist, deked Peter Budaj and fired in a low shot to seal the victory. Matt Hendricks tallied in the first round to give Washington the early advantage.

The Capitals took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle in the first period.

Erik Cole banged in a rebound for his 32nd goal with 21.5 seconds left in the period to trim the deficit to one.

Tomas Plekanec erased the two-goal deficit in the second period when his shot sailed past Michal Neuvirth and under the crossbar to knot the game at 2-2. Neuvirth rebounded and made 39 saves for his 14th win.

The Canadiens dropped their fourth consecutive contest and remain dead last in the Eastern Conference.

Nicklas Backstrom, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on Jan. 3, was held without a point and played just under 20 minutes in his return after missing 40 games.
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